The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gill63's blog

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Multigrain, seeded bread - using up end of bag of wholemeal flour, hence 84g wholemeal, 75g dark rye, 300g white bead flour, with 3malt sunflower seed flour to make up to 800g, 400g 50% starter, 650g water. Autolysed for just under an hour, 20g salt added and dough developed. 150g mixed ‘seeds’ added towards end of slap and folds (cut malted rye grains, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, linseed,poppy), then 3 sets of stretch and folds over next hour and a half, as dough seemed slacker than I was expected. In total, 4 hours of bulk at room temp (probably about 66-68 as heating not on initially). Dough rising, but probably not quite there when I pre-shaped. I needed to go out, and didn’t want to put it in the fridge at that point, as that wouldn’t have been compatible with a bake for breakfast......

Boules felt reasonable, but I wasn’t really convinced by my batard shaping...not enough tension generated.

Into fridge after about 3 hours (when home from Pilates and swim). Baked straight from there this morning. Batard in non-fan oven on pre-heated stone with steam, and boules in cloche in the fan oven.

Cut the batard about 40mins after it was out of the oven- scrambled goose eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms were ready😉. Flavour really good, but crumb tight and lack of oven spring compared to the boules (which were smaller). My other half tells me to stop moaning about the crumb as the crust and flavour are so good! Don’t know about the crumb of the boules, as they are destined for the freezer. Does anyone else have to decide on their dinner menu in order to make room in the freezer for the current bake? More seriously though, do people think my lack of rise in the batard is lack of bulk ferment time, poor shaping, the difference in baking environment - or probably a combination......




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Recently we went on a ski holiday, which was great fun, but I managed to slip over on an icy pavement when walking back to the chalet in ski boots. (No falls on the piste!) Landed on my right side, and my elbow hasn’t quite settled down yet. It didn’t interfere with skiing, but now that I’m home it is a good excuse reason to get out of the hoovering!

Before the holiday I’d built my 50% hydration starter up as it was going to be sitting in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. So, on return I had plenty of starter to be going on with. As well as bread I made a batch of sourdough muffins and a double batch of parmesan and herb sourdough crackers. I usually use the Bertinet method of handling/developing my dough as I really enjoy it, but usually then do one or two extra stretch and folds, as I find that and a cold overnight proof in the fridge work well for me.

It was my first use of Shipton Mill cut malted rye grain, and I was pleased with the result.

400g starter/400 white bread flour,75g rye flour,325g wholemeal flour/650g water. 30g cut malted rye grain soaked in 50ml boiling water and 120g mixed seeds added with 3rd (final) stretch and fold.

The dough was soft, but handled well and I loved the flavour. But, although fine at the time, my elbow really ached the next day!

Time to bake again, and its not completely better, so I decided to combine my Bertinet starter and formula with a Dan Lepard type method, and to try and go with the feel of the dough to decide on how many stretch and folds to do.

250g starter/200g white bread flour, 300g Shipton Mill 3 malts and sunflower brown bread/650g water.

It took a long time to get any structure, so I did an extra round of minimal kneading and 5 sets of stretch and folds.

Still a bit sticky after pre-shaping, so I added seeds to one banneton as well as using brown rice flour/bread flour mix in both. I wanted to make sure at least one loaf released well! 3.5 hours rising at room temperature before going in fridge overnight.

No problem with release of either loaf - thanks to TFLers for the tip about using a rice flour mix. That’s the softest/wettest dough I’ve used it with. Whilst lining the banneton with oats or seeds works well it isn't always wanted.

Good oven spring, slashing could be better. Closer crumb than usual, but I’m not particularly bothered by that as it has a very nice flavour.





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 So, Thursday afternoon saw the annual Leftover Christmas Party at friends. Part of the fun is a vague idea, but no certainty of what there is going to be to eat. Christmas leftovers, but quite what,and in what form. I made a turkey and ham pie, and also wanted to take some bread (it is sort of expected, after all, and gives me a further excuse to bake).

Inspiration came from a link in the Christmas edition of Bread Magazine e-mail,

Decided to do something similar using a batch of olive oil dough (recipe from Dough by Richard Bertinet). Top section and bottom row filled with confit garlic and tomato jam, grated Beaufort and confit garlic in the rest. All brushed with oil/butter confit mix before and after baking. Slivers of cooking chorizo added as baubles before baking, and more cheese over the cheesy section.

Oven (fan) pre- heated to 240C and turned down to 200 straight away. Turned half way through 25 min bake.

Rosemary and chopped parsley as decorative greenery.

Have to say, I was pleased with the result, and it seemed to go down very well


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Hybrid loaf using Lammas Fayre Medieval Peasant flour. (Previous attempt with all LFMP flour tasted good but quite cakey- not nearly as light as that produced by Lechem)

Not enough time for straight sourdough, so 150g 50% hydration white starter/300g strong white/300g LFMP/390g water. 30min autolyse. Added 5g quick yeast, 12g salt dissolved in15g water. Started dough in mixer, finished by hand after adding 100g mixed seeds. 3hrs for first rise, shaped, 10min bench rest, then final shape and into bannetons and into the fridge overnight. Baked straight from fridge, in cloche, at 12 and 13 hours. Looked a little overproofed before going in to oven. Some oven spring, but not the greatest. Flavour still good, despite diluting with modern bread flour, and nice texture.

I guess I need to either do a ‘proper’ sourdough with the same mix of flour (adjusting starter and bread flour amounts) or cut back the yeast ?to 3g if going for a 12 hour cold retard. I’ve got enough flour left to try both ways, and might use the wheat starter with some wholemeal rather than just white bread flour..... I guess the endless possibilities and anticpaction are part of the fun!


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....but at least the photo seems the right way up!

The clocks have gone back, the weather is definitely cooler, and I’m not sure if I should adjust my schedule. I usually start between 1 and 2pm with a short autolyse, develop dough with slap and fold and then do 2 or 3 lots of stretch and folds depending on how the dough feels. I’ve been shaping about 6pm before putting bannetons in the fridge at some point before bed and baking straight from there in the morning

Starter (50%) not used for 2.5 weeks due to baking before I went away for a few days, so that there was bead in the freezer when I came home (from my croissant course with Richard Bertinet).

So, 250g starter/200g strong white/300g 3 malts and sunflower brown bread flour/390g water (62.4%)

Soft sticky dough initially, but after a fairly long working felt slack but very nice. 3 sets of stretch and folds before shaping

Cool in the kitchen (61-66 F) and no real rise after 4 hours so one fridged and one left out over night. The one on the worktop may have been sl. over proofed and was more difficult to score. Dragged (blunt) blade off my lame handle. Fridged loaf still looked under proofed, so came out whilst first one was baking and the cloche reheating (75mins at room temp). Easy to score, new blade!

Better rise on 2nd loaf + ears (left hand loaf in photo), but crumb on first doesn’t really look over-proofed to me (crumb shot)

Good flavour - will certainly get more of the Shipton Mill 3 malt flour.

Would be keen to have feedback to help me decide on whether to still slow retard in the fridge during the winter, as not sure if the difference was more due to poor scoring rather than over proofing.  Or maybe the answer is just to turn the heating up a bit, so the kitchen is warmer and there is some rise in the dough before bed time!




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Not sure why I can only seem to load photos upside down - tried flipping 180 degrees but not different. Sorry!

Felt inspired to try a porridge bread last week after Isand66's post, with a few little tweaks to his cranberry, cherry and pecan sourdough porridge bread, to account for UK flour and what was in my cupboard. I scaled down to 60% to get a suitable amount of dough for my 2 smaller bannetons, so I could bake in my re-purposed Pampered Chef chicken baker that works as my bread dome, and ignored the fact that my started is 50% - as I reckoned that would help ameliorate the fact that UK flour absorbs less water. I did also reduce the water in the final dough a little, and substituted wheat bran for oat bran, spelt flakes for barley flakes and walnuts for pecans. I dusted the banters with a few more spelt flakes to ensure the dough released easily - but don't think that was really necessary. I quite like an oat topping however, so no problem there.

I usually do a cold final proof rather than a cold bulk ferment, so this was a bit different for me. Worked fine, but the other way round usually fits in better with my timings, as I usually bake first thing in the morning straight from the fridge, and will  probably try that next time, as well as being slightly braver with the hydration.

All in all very pleased with the result, and enjoyed doing something a bit different from my usual bakes.

Thanks Ian, for expanding my repertoire!


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